Other people's music is the soundtrack to my commute

iPod sound pollution is on the rise, and it's not dodgy headphones that cause it, but people who don't give a damn about others

Share
Related Topics

What will it be today? As I get on the bus each morning, I never know what I'll end up listening to. Will it be 40 minutes of 50 Cent or a bit of Abba? Will it be "Bad Romance" or "Good Vibrations"? Or Sebastian the crab singing his claws out? It's not that I'm a slave to the shuffle function on iTunes, it's that other people's music has become the soundtrack to my commute.

Or, in the case of Sebastian (the Little Mermaid's pal), the soundtrack to someone else's commute. A girl on a friend's train carriage gave everyone an hour's worth of Disney songs because her headphones weren't plugged in properly and everyone thought it was too funny (or too embarrassing) to tell her.

When faced with a wall of sound too loud to bear, when I worry about my own hearing being damaged, let alone that of the person plugged in, I have been known, on occasion, politely to ask unwitting DJs to turn their tunes down. If they don't look like they might punch me. On other occasions I grit my teeth, or share grimaces with other people being forced to listen to White Snake turned up to 11 at eight in the morning.

But while I understand that phones and MP3 players let us zone out from our journeys and give us a solitary bubble in which to travel, rather than listen to tube announcements, or nose-blowing or mothers yelling at their children, they also make us selfish.

Because despite dodgy headphones (or, worse, music played through the phone's speakers) this sort of sound pollution is the fault of people not giving a damn about others.

I'd be horrified if I realised I was blaring out Disney's greatest hits in a packed train carriage ("Under the sea! Under the sea!/Darling it's better, down where it's wetter, under the sea!") but it wouldn't be because everyone knew about my love of cartoon show tunes.

It's because I would be ashamed to invade someone else's personal space with my music. I always test my headphones to see how much sound they spread and turn my music down accordingly.

Or I try to teach by example and not spend entire journeys plugged in and oblivious. (To which the plugged in, obviously, remain oblivious). But that only means more unexpected soundtracks each morning.

"A Whole New World"? Not unless everyone starts turning their music down.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales - OTE to £45,000

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a leading supplier of bu...

Recruitment Genius: Installation Engineer - Driveway

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative, fast growing f...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Project Manager - Technical

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a Jun...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Charles Kennedy campaigns with Business Minister Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire on 27 April 2015  

Charles Kennedy and the rise and fall of the Liberal Democrats

John Rentoul
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne  

I'm against Right-to-Buy because no government should force a charity to sell its assets

Bob Kerslake
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral